Hull fouling causes drag-related speed loss and increased full consumption, while being a topic of growing environmental concern and international regulation as it relates to green house gas emissions and the carriage of aquatic invasive species on fouled hulls.

To combat these issues, shipping companies are relying on modern hull coating systems like foul-release paint to provide a ready solution.

Foul-release paint may be a good environmental choice, but because this paint contains no biocides, it is susceptible to marine bio-fouling, which can become severe if a ship remains at birth for extended time periods.

After reaching mature states, some forms of fouling may not “release” when the ship returns to open ocean steaming. A recent Navy study showed that the resulting fuel penalty can be quite severe (over $100,000 per month in extra fuel burn for a single ship).

Ship owners need accurate scientific data to support intelligent decisions on coating systems and hull cleaning intervals.

Macsea now offers an independent hull monitoring service designed to save fuel and reduce emissions by detecting hull fouling as early as possible.

The new service, called Hull Medic, uses automatic onboard data acquisition to gather salient ship performance data and transmit it ashore for detailed analysis. Hull Medic will typically review 10,000’s of a ship’s data records per month, providing high-accuracy statistical analysis for earlier detection of hull fouling.

Hull Medic calibrates each ship’s propeller as a power absorption dynamometer, using propeller characteristics and “clean-hull” ship performance data. The calibration establishes the unique relationship between speed, propeller rpm, and shaft power for each vessel. The propeller can then be used to track power/fuel/emissions increases over time. The technique works for ships with single, double, fixed, or variable pitched propellers. Performance reports are provided to shipping management on a timely basis such that significant fuel penalties don’t go unnoticed.